Research Programs

Core Benchmark Studies

The core benchmarking program is the central research program at the Institute. From medical costs to worker outcomes, the studies in this program examine the changes in performance of individual state systems, as well as provide meaningful interstate comparisons.

With these studies, stakeholders, public officials, and policymakers can monitor their systems on a regular basis and make important interstate comparisons. By identifying incremental changes in system performance trends that may signal either improvement or possible deterioration in system performance goals for system performance can be set, improvements accomplished and crises avoided.

The following are among the studies that fall within this program:

  • CompScope™ Benchmarks
  • CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks
  • Outcomes for Injured Workers
  • Medical Price Indexes
  • Hospital Payment Indexes
  • Medical Cost Containment Inventories
  • Longer-Term Use of Opioids
  • Interstate Variations on Use of Opioids
  • Prescription Inventories


Topical Studies

The Institute’s topical research program focuses on the major current public policy issues and long-term challenges confronting workers’ compensation systems. The studies evaluate the impact of recent reforms, identify emerging trends and issues, identify actions and policies that improve disability and medical management, and identify key leverage points to improve system performance. 

The following are a few examples of recent studies that fall within this research program:

  • Do Higher Fee Schedules Increase the Number of Workers’ Compensation Cases?
  • Physician Dispensing of Higher-Priced New Drug Strengths and Formulation
  • Predictors of Worker Outcomes
  • Why Surgery Rates Vary Across States
  • The Impact of Physician Dispensing on Opioid Use

The following are some areas of research that we plan to explore in the near future:

  • The impact of higher deductibles and co-payments in group health insurance on claim shifting to workers’ compensation
  • Health care market structure and workers’ compensation costs – accountable care organizations and consolidation of health care
  • Impact of Kentucky opioid reforms
  • Examining compound drug use in workers’ compensation
  • Impact of fee schedules on access to care
  • Impact of treatment guidelines and utilization review to enforce them
  • Effect of opioids on return to work

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